How does your own self awareness affect your ability to empathize with others?

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  1. profile image58
    Useless itchposted 8 years ago

    How does your own self awareness affect your ability to empathize with others?

    I find that the the better I understand myself, the better I am able to empathize with others. Because I allow myself to be "human" ( imperfect and flawed) I can in turn allow others to make mistakes without judgement. (I use mistakes loosely here because of its subjective nature).

  2. tsmog profile image84
    tsmogposted 8 years ago

    Certainly an interesting question. One may think that to be counterintuitive since empathy is in essence being able to be in the another's shoes. This question brings to the forefront is empathy the ability to do so and compare/contrast with oneself to obtain per se an assessment. If that is the case then self awareness most certainly is needed. In other words if I feel terrible to begin with maybe I will not empathize with someone who feels terrible. Possibly I feel worse.

    Regarding making mistakes and judgement I kinda' feel that is not what empathy is about. Or, at least possibly too broad regarding empathy. For instance as a supervisor having to correct an employee I may be empathetic to their feelings of being corrected, although there most certainly was a judgement made. The hope of course is the judgment is a result of discernment firstly.

    1. profile image58
      Useless itchposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Great response. In the case of your example about the supervisor your explanation of discernment fits well. I use judgment in my question along the lines of "passing judgment". the supervisor didn't "label" the employee lazy.

  3. Tusitala Tom profile image68
    Tusitala Tomposted 8 years ago

    I concur with Useless itch's observation that the more we become 'self aware' the more we are able to emphasise with others.   But what self are we talking about, the self-image self? (and understanding that it is only an image and that others also have their own) or are we talking about the Real Self, the Observer and Experiencer of our lives and not the thought we generally immerse ourselves in?

    My own experience in 'going within' (and remember the adage, "If you don't go within you go without") based on almost forty years of twice daily meditation, is that self-awareness brings to both ourselves and to others, more tolerance and love - even joy.  So I certainly recommend the efforts that go into self-understanding.

    1. profile image58
      Useless itchposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Great point about "which self"! Either one or both could hold different levels to my ability to empathize! It is worth my while to explore the endless possibilities that come with thinking without limits.

  4. peachpurple profile image81
    peachpurpleposted 8 years ago

    i don't see any other answers besides one here. I say most people understand themselves better and harder to use your ability to affect others

    1. profile image58
      Useless itchposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Interesting point that brings into question, Do the motives behind our desire to "affect" others play a role in our level of self-awareness?


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